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Quo vadis ecclesia? Swiss Protestant Churches re-elect controversial president

A picture of Locher after his election holding a bunch of flowers

Locher is a divisive figure among parts of the religious community.

(Keystone)

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has re-elected Gottfried Locher to head the organisation for a third term.

The Bernese theologian won 43 of 70 votes on Sunday evening, beating the Zurich-based pastor Rita Famos in an election that has been widely covered by the Swiss media.

Locher is a divisive figure among parts of the religious community, who see his ambition of serving as a kind of figurehead for Swiss Protestants and his religious zeal as deeply un-Protestant and more in line with the Catholic church’s teachings.

external linkLearn more about Gottfried Locher's vision for the Protestant Churchexternal link

Locher first took office as president of the FSPC in 2011.

Delegates had been faced with a choice between two very different candidates, with the Swiss media even referring to a “historic duel”. Famos would have been the first female president of the FSPC.

The Swiss Protestant Church, faced with dwindling numbers, is currently undergoing radical changes. A constitutional amendment is underway aimed at uniting the loosely joined FSPC member churches under a new, and more unified, Protestant Reformed Church structure.

With his re-election, Locher will now be able to start implementing these changes, wrote the FSPC in a statement. 

SDA-ATS/swissinfo.ch/ln

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